Kenya expat exodus leaves luxury homes untenanted

Kenya expat exodus leaves luxury homes untenanted

Kenya expat exodus leaves luxury homes untenanted

Kenya’s expat exodus is causing chaos in upscale housing estates.

Changes made last year to Kenya’s requirements for the granting of work permits has resulted in an expat professional exodus severely affecting the upscale real estate market. Formerly exclusively popular estates such as Karen, Spring Valley, Nyari, Runda and Muthaiga have emptied as a result, with vacant homes spread across their manicured acres. Many homes are now for sale, but prices in general have already fallen by around four per cent, and are continuing on a downward spiral.

,The situation is being worsened by international pressure on various overseas governments, resulting in tighter budgets and reduced foreign spending as well as affecting international aid-funded operations. Many homes in these exclusive enclaves were occupied by expat residents active in aid-related operations. As a result of the downturn, local developers are adjusting their projects and converting large detached mansions into multi-occupation residences, although price adjustment will be needed before the results become commercially viable.

According to experts in the sector, Kenya needs to adjust to its maturing property market by providing homes in response to demand rather than exclusive enclaves for a sector of the market which is shrinking fast. It’s expected the downward trend in luxury homes will continue for the foreseeable future should the international economy not improve or the country itself initiate new policies aimed at attracting back international residents.

For some years, Nairobi has functioned as a major pillar in Africa’s economic growth, attracting high numbers of expat professionals working in global organisations as well as in diplomatic missions. Last year’s stop in the issuance of work permits was intended to prevent the practice of entering as tourists and using proxies to gain the essential permits. Subsequently, work permits could only be obtained via Kenyan embassies in applicants’ home countries.

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